Battle Born Injury Lawyers | January 19, 2024 | Personal Injury
Yes, it is possible to sue someone for emotional distress in Las Vegas, Nevada. There are five ways you can do so, depending on the circumstances: intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress, incident to an ordinary personal injury claim, incident to a sexual assault claim, and incident to a defamation claim.
What Is Emotional Distress?
Emotional distress is the non-physical suffering that you might endure as the result of an injury or a traumatic event. That might mean extreme fear, grief, depression, anxiety, shock, or similar emotions.
What Are the Symptoms of Emotional Distress?
Physical symptoms of emotional distress often include:
- Chronic headaches
- Insomnia or nightmares
- Panic attacks
- Uncontrollable crying
- Weight gain or loss
Other physical symptoms are also possible.
Statutory Law vs. Judge-Made Law
Some personal injury claims are established by statute. Many states, for example, have enacted a dog bite statute, which allows you to sue dog owners for injuries inflicted by their dog. Another common example of statutory personal injury law is the dram shop laws enacted in some states, which allow victims of DUI accidents to sue nightclubs that sold alcohol to the at-fault driver under the right circumstances.
Judge-made law, by contrast, is created by courts on a case-by-case basis. For example, the primary elements of a negligence claim (duty of care, breach of duty, injury, and causation) were created by courts over a long series of cases.
Likewise, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligent infliction of emotional distress are both judge-made law. To determine the law in this area, judges look to court precedent and apply them to the facts of an individual case to reach a decision.
Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress
To win a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress, you must prove that:
- The defendant’s conduct was extreme and outrageous;
- The defendant intended to cause you emotional distress, or acted with reckless disregard for whether their actions could cause you emotional distress;
- You suffered severe emotional distress; and
- The defendant’s behavior was the cause of your emotional distress.
In most cases, the hard part is proving the severity of the emotional distress. The best way to do this is to submit evidence of physical symptoms that frequently coincide with emotional distress. In any case, you must prove each of the foregoing elements of your claim by “a preponderance of the evidence.” In other words, on a “more likely than not” basis.
An Example of Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress
A classic example of a case of intentional infliction of emotional distress is a situation where a cruel prankster telephones a father, impersonates the county coroner, falsely tells him that his daughter died in a car accident, and asks him to come to the morgue to identify the body.
Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress
Negligent infliction of emotional distress is a relatively new claim. A Nevada intentional infliction of emotional distress claim includes several elements:
- The defendant negligently caused an injury (a car accident, for example);
- The plaintiff was either the injured party or a close family member of the injury victim;
- The plaintiff witnessed the injury (or was the victim of it);
- The plaintiff was located near or at the scene of the accident;
- The plaintiff suffered severe emotional distress;
- The cause of the plaintiff’s severe emotional distress was witnessing or experiencing the injury that the defendant was responsible for; and
- The plaintiff experienced physical symptoms of emotional distress.
Like intentional infliction of emotional distress, you must prove this claim by “a preponderance of the evidence.”
Emotional Distress Claims Incident to Personal Injury Claims
If you suffer a physical injury for which another party is liable, you can typically seek both economic and non-economic damages. Non-economic damages include intangible psychological harms such as pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and emotional distress.
Determining the Value of Non-Economic Damages in a Nevada Personal Injury Claim
The two most popular ways of calculating the value of noneconomic damages in a personal injury claim are the per diem method and the multiplier method:
- The per diem method: Under the per diem method, you calculate a daily value for your suffering, and then multiply that value by the number of days you suffered. Typically, this means from the date of the accident until the date that your doctor declares that you have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI).
- The multiplier method: Under the multiplier method, you choose a multiplier between 1.5 and 5. You take this value and multiply it by your total medical expenses.
Please note that either of these two calculation methods gives you total non-economic damages, which might include more than just emotional distress damages. If you suffered emotional distress as well as other forms of non-economic damages, you will have to carve your emotional distress damages out of your total non-economic damages.
If You Don’t Win Compensation, You Don’t Pay
You will probably need a personal injury lawyer to handle your emotional distress claim. Fortunately, personal injury lawyers don’t charge by the “billable hour.” Instead, they charge their fees as a percentage of your win.
So, if you don’t win, you don’t pay. In this way, the strength of your claim matters, not the size of your wallet.
Contact the Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorneys at Battle Born Injury Lawyers Today
If you or a loved one were injured in an accident in Las Vegas and you need legal assistance, contact our personal injury attorneys at Battle Born Injury Lawyers and schedule a free consultation with our legal team.